Bruce Springstone

From Jack B – Mr. Pop, what in the world is the story with “Bruce Springstone?” All I know is that it was a record parodying Bruce Springsteen.

Mr. Pop History - The man behind this unique record is Baltimore’s Tom Chalkley: journalist, editorial cartoonist and satirist. Mr. Chalkney not only sings lead on “Meet The Flintstones/Take Me Out to the Ballgame; he created the back of the sleeve. Drummer John Ebersberger, another terrific cartoonist, created the front – complete with Clarence Clemmons dinosaur likeness.

Bruce Springstone

“Live At Bedrock” cover art

According to Chalkley, the Bruce Springstone idea came from a party, during which he was singing a song in the style of Bruce. Convinced he should cut a record, he originally wanted to sing “New York, New York” the Bruce way. The two tunes on the 45rpm disc: “Bedrock Rap/Meet The Flinstones” and “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” were chosen by way of free association. Nothing particular.

The single was released in September of 1982. Many rock stations played the record to fool their audiences. And it did fool a lot of people.

Bruce SpringstoneMany who listened to the songs wondered if Springsteen had a problem with Bruce Springstone. Not so. Chalkley received a postcard from Bruce Springsteen saying: “Heard your record. Cute.”

Cartoon makers Hanna-Barbara had a problem. “Meet The Flintstones” was OK and they approved its use. They didn’t like the sleeve artwork. After selling some 35,000 copies – Hanna-Barbara pulled the plug with a cease-and-desist order. Tom Chalkley wrote three other songs for Bruce Springstone – “Cave Girl,” “I’m On Ice,” and “Ugga Bugga.” While none of these made it to record under Bruce Springstone, “Ugga Bugga” was recorded by actor Billy Mumy (Lost in Space) and is available on the Jurassic album. By way of tape dub, Dr. Demento played several of these other tunes on his syndicated radio show.